Tennessee Homicide Defense Attorney and Murder Defense Lawyer Located in Knoxville, TN

Homicide offenses carry with them some of the most serious punishments in the criminal justice system. Homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of another person, and in Tennessee, homicide offenses are broken up into five different categories: first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and vehicular homicide.

First degree murder is defined under Tennessee law as the premeditated and intentional killing of another person.  The term premeditation, as it is used in the context, refers to an act done after the exercise of reflection and judgment.  In other words, the intent to kill must have been formed prior to the act itself.  Additionally, if someone is killed, even accidentally, during the commission of certain specified felonies, including arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, and kidnapping, or if someone is killed as the result discharging a destructive device or bomb, this too constitutes first degree murder under Tennessee law.  First degree murder is a capital offense in Tennessee, meaning that it is punishable by death.  Alternative punishments for first degree murder include life imprisonment and life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Second degree murder is defined under Tennessee law as the knowing killing of another.  Second degree murder differs from first degree murder in that second degree murder does not require the element of premeditation; all that is required is knowledge of the consequences of one’s actions.  A person acts “knowingly” in this context if they are aware that their conduct is reasonably certain to cause the death of another person.  Additionally, if someone is killed as a result of the unlawful distribution of any Schedule I or Schedule II drug, and the drug was the proximate cause of the death of the user, this too is second degree murder under Tennessee law.  Second degree murder is a Class A Felony, punishable by up to 60 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.  

Skilled Knoxville, TN Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending Homicide Charges

Other homicide offenses include voluntary manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless homicide, and vehicular homicide.  Voluntary manslaughter is defined under Tennessee law as the intentional or knowing killing of another in a state of passion produced by adequate provocation sufficient to lead a reasonable person to act in an irrational manner.  Voluntary manslaughter is a Class C Felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.  Criminally negligent homicide is defined as criminally negligent conduct that results in death. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class E felony, punishable by up to 6 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,000.  Reckless homicide under Tennessee law is the reckless killing of another person.  Reckless homicide is a Class D felony, punishable by up to 12 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.  Lastly, vehicular homicide is defined under Tennessee law as the reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle.  Vehicular homicide ranges from a Class D felony, punishable by up to 12 years imprisonment to a Class B Felony, punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment, depending on the presence or absence of alcohol, drugs, and certain other factors.

If you are charged with a Tennessee crime, It is important that you find a criminal defense attorney that will provide you with an aggressive defense.   

If you or someone you know has been charged with a homicide offence, whether it is first or second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or vehicular homicide, it is critical that you obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney immediately.  The attorneys at The Law Offices of James A.H. Bell, P.C. have the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to defend your case and fight for your interests.  Our attorneys have participated in numerous homicide trials and have been successfully defending homicide charges in and around the Knoxville area for decades. Additionally, our in-house private investigator conducts an independent investigation into the facts of every new case.  Put our experience to work for you, and call one of our knowledgeable attorneys located in Knoxville, TN to schedule a free consultation today.